Today Roger, Jam Guy's friend and coworker, came over with his tractor to grade the orchard area. The idea was to pull up the layer of what Roger told us was "bermuda grass" to make room for the field of poppies we envision there, and also to smooth out the ground in the area so that it's comfortable for everybody to walk on at the wedding.
Yesterday Jam Guy did a LOT of work in the garden while I was working at a winery event, all to make it easier and more effective for Roger to do his tractoring. When I came home, I found all the fruit trees pruned into much smaller fruit trees (which I am given to understand is very good for the trees) and an enormous pile of branches stacked tidily against the greenhouse. Moreover, the old stump around which I had proudly dug my very first trench--we used the trench to flood the area around the stump, to facilitate its removal--had been pulled up. Poor Jam Guy was a little sunburned and a lot tired, and I was so impressed by everything that he had accomplished while I had just been pouring wine.
(The winery job, by the way, is SO MUCH FUN. Here's what I do: drive for about half an hour through progressively prettier wine country, pull up at a winery literally carved into the side of a hill, with views of vineyards rolling up and down in gentle waves. I stand behind a bar in the tasting room inside this hill, pour tastes of wine to happy strangers and chat with them, and when there are no happy strangers around chat with the happy winemakers, managers and vineyard staff. It is pretty freaking awesome. It doesn't pay very much, but I don't care, because I feel like I am getting paid to hang out at a cocktail party.)
Anyways, tractor day: Roger brought his tractor over in a big trailer behind his cargo van, and generously offered to use the trailer to help us haul all of our yard waste to the dump. Roger is adorable. He has this big white beard; he drove around in his tractor wearing a straw cowboy hat with a feather stuck in it. He is a study in idioms about cheerful men: he literally has a feather in his hat; his eyes literally twinkle, his laugh literally booms. And he really seemed to enjoy tractoring and hauling stuff to the dump and just being a nice and helpful friend.
While Roger gamely tractored about, Jam Guy and I piled tree boughs and bermuda-grass bits and literally hundreds of tiny unripe apples onto the trailer. I felt really guilty about the apples going to waste--the branches needed to be cut, but the apples are too green for any people to want to eat them--but Roger says that he thinks there are critters that scavenge at the dump, and probably they will eat the apples. I think he might just be saying that to relieve my guilt. I'll take it.
At the dump I was kind of fascinated, because I'd never been to a dump before. We made a stop to drop off some wood planks, another to dump all the tree limbs and leaves and apples, and a last one to leave some aluminum sheets that had been under the old tool shed that a nice man kindly removed from our garden after we put it up on the "free" section on Craigslist. The woman who worked at the aluminum station checked with a magnet to make sure that the sheets really were aluminum (I guess to make sure they were recyclable) and then peered at me as I hopped out of the van and said "You are a very pretty girl," apropos of nothing. I was having a good day already, but damn if that didn't just totally make it for me. I'm not sure there is anything much better for one's morale than getting a sincere-sounding compliment from a stranger when you are dirty and in your mucking-around clothes and your hair is escaping every which way from its braid.
Anyways. My easily-petted vanity is not the point. The point is: Because of Roger's cheerful and gracious help, we accomplished today what would have taken us months to accomplish on our own. Roger is aces.
Here are some "before" pics:
And some "after" pics:
PS: Ha ha, I said "dump."